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Club Handicaps, Reductions.

As you know the Executive Committee has determined it is necessary to look at how handicaps are updated and monitored. Handicapping has become a serious issue of concern within the Club. We all understand the rigours of getting continuous updated handicaps within the Belgium system. As a result of this rigour, golfers are improving in their game, but their handicaps are not receiving continuous updates +/-.

“Shooting your handicap.” There is a lot of discussion on have I shot my handicap. Recall that a handicap index establishes the “best case” for a golfer. One should very rarely (i.e., once or twice a year) shoot one’s handicap. In Stableford, this means generally 36 points. If one achieves 36 points, one has shot par relative to one’s handicap. This should be rare, not often. Anything above 36 becomes rarer and more exceptional. Anyone shooting consecutive scores at 36 or better is not playing on the appropriate handicap. Most competitions should be won in the 30-32 score range.

We are still researching a centralized system. In the meantime, the Executive, as discussed at the AGM, expects all members to use one of two applications to track handicaps. HandicapTracker (iphone) or SwingU (Android and Iphone). Please understand, this is not a suggestion. We are fully aware the calculation in these applications is not an official handicap. They numbers calculated are valid, however.

Each round a NATO Golf Member plays should be entered into the application, thus providing a continuous update to handicap. Handicaps are living numbers and should move +/- frequently, within a margin. Recall, that your handicap is your potential, rather than your norm. As such, handicap calculations will be quicker to reduce the number rather than raise the number. It looks at the lowest set of scores in a previous set. Calculations automatically discard the highest scores. Generally, this means it looks at the lowest 10 of the previous 20 rounds. The more rounds one plays, the more accurate the calculation.

The reality is that we are looking to monitor handicaps that are too high, rather than too low. Simply put, The Stableford System favours high handicap and even skews points to them. It penalizes low handicap players. Mid-handicaps basically are not competitive in this format.

As Club Captain, I do not wish to turn into the handicap police. However, we must be able to transparently show equitable living handicap numbers. Please use one of the two applications. Any member who is not able to show me and updated, living handicap index, will have a handicap adjustment for the next competition. This means, that any member scoring 33-35 points will receive a one point reduction and anyone scoring 36 or better in a previous in the previous competition and does not have an updated handicap number (with one of the two applications), will receive a 2 point reduction from the previously reported handicap.

Handicap reductions will begin for this Saturday’s competition. If this appears arbitrary, the best way to manage it is to get 10+ rounds into one of the applications. I have entered 20+ past rounds into mine……….you can too.

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